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186 Norwegian (NCL) Seward Cruise Reviews

My wife and I cruised on the Jewel from Anchorage to Vancouver. We have now cruised 27 times, mostly on Carnival, Princess, and Norwegian (six times). I occasionally post cruise reviews here, but only when the experience is pretty good ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on the Jewel from Anchorage to Vancouver. We have now cruised 27 times, mostly on Carnival, Princess, and Norwegian (six times). I occasionally post cruise reviews here, but only when the experience is pretty good or pretty bad. Our recent Alaska cruise on the Jewel qualifies in both categories. So here goes, starting with the good.. Fairly good cruise fare pricing for this shoulder season Alaska trip. The best production shows we have EVER seen on a cruise ship. The Jewel shows were fast-paced, high-tech, well-choreographed shows with excellent sound and visual effects -- but virtually all the cruise lines and ships we have been on have the same in their shows. What set the Jewel shows apart were the singers and the show band. Usually on a cruise you expect maybe one very strong voice -- sometimes male, sometimes female -- with one or two so-so voices. On the Jewel they had FOUR superb singers. So the shows featured one great solo after another. And, needless to say, the songs that involved duets, trios, or even foursomes were simply wonderful. The show band featured a saxophone, trumpet, and trombone who were all of true professional quality. On some of the band tunes you could close your eyes and say “That is Kenny G!” Not that Kenny G is the be all and end all, lol, but you get my drift. Our interior cabin was small, but updated and well laid out. The bathroom was quite nice, with a fairly large shower with a sliding door so no water on the floor. The bed did not sag, a definite plus. As for the itinerary, the ship got so close to the massive Hubbard Glacier that we felt like we could reach out and touch it. This, of course, was just fortuity: Clear, calm weather, and a current that was pushing the ice flotsam away from the ship gave us this once-in-a-lifetime glacier experience. Now the bad: Norwegian nickels and dimes you for everything, including things as small as sqeezed juice at breakfast And these fees are generally higher than what other cruise lines charge for similar items. For example, $15 per person per day for the standard gratuity on the Jewel was higher than any other cruise line we have been on. Another example: Norwegian charges you a 3% fee to play slot machines using money from your sail and sign account. None of the other cruise lines we have been on charge this sort of fee. And then there is the auto gratuity of 20% Norwegian adds to purchases of beverages, specialty meals, and the like. Other cruise lines only charge 15% to 18% auto gratuities on these sorts of items. In the past, we have enjoyed some of the specialty restaurants on the Norwegian ships, but no longer. On previous Norwegian cruises we have bought package specialty dining deals (four or more nights). But this past summer Norwegian jacked the prices on these packages, to upwards of $30 per person per meal!! Not worth it, particularly when the quality in these resaurants is not discernibly better than you can get on land for similar meals (e.g., comparing La Cucina on the ship with Olive Garden at home I will take Olive Garden!). The a la carte prices at the Norwegian specialty restaurants are even more expensive on a per-meal basis than with the dining packages. With the price increases the Norwegian Specialty restaurants now charge, on average, significantly more than other cruise lines charge for their specialty restaurants. My guess is that this big increase in prices is an attempt to get customers to buy the “free at sea” cruise packages, and then to view the included specialty meals as some sort of a great “free” deal. But for us the economics of all this just don’t make sense. And that leads me generally to the food in the buffet and the main dining rooms. Not good. In the buffet it got to the point that I would take a tiny bit of 10 or 15 different items, hoping to find something I particularly liked, and then would dump my original plate and go back for the few items I liked. Simple things like rice (plain rice, chinese fried rice, or Indian rice) simply lacked flavor. Even the pizza and hamburgers were meh. The main dining room was also nothing to look forward to. I particularly remember the time I ordered cherry pie as a desert and got some sort of gelatinous red filling with no discernible fruit. On another occasions my wife ordered a dessert called “Pot De Creme.” yuck. It was closer to Pot de Cr*p. Oh, what a disappointment. Which left my wife and I wondering if we will take another Norwegian cruise. If we knew that we could get similar production shows on other ships in the Norwegian fleet, I would say OK, definitely yes, yes . . . but we think maybe the Jewel shows were an anomaly. On the other hand, we doubt the poor food offerings in the buffet and MDR were an anomaly, given how badly Norwegian must want everyone to eat in their specialty restaurants. So, after a bit of debate, my wife and I decided not to put money down on the “cruise next” deposit, as we figured we just won’t be enticed to use it on another Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a bucket list item in that I wanted to visit Alaska (the only state I hadn't been to) and to experience the coast of Alaska. We did the land portion of our trip first and the cruise on the way back so it would be restful and ... Read More
This was a bucket list item in that I wanted to visit Alaska (the only state I hadn't been to) and to experience the coast of Alaska. We did the land portion of our trip first and the cruise on the way back so it would be restful and that it was. The only disappointment was that the route is such that you only see minimal amount of the coastline and a lot of water. An up close view of Hubbard Glacier was probably the highlight of the cruise. The ship is well maintained and is kept clean. The staff is very friendly and helpful. If you are a foodie, this cruise is not for you. The food in the main dining rooms is good and the service very good. As for the buffets the food is average at best. Eggs are either under-cooked or over-cooked. Waffles, cinnamon and pecan rolls are hard. Omelettes are strange. Many of the drink machines did not function correctly which means you got flavored/colored water versus juice or drink. If you found a machine that worked you would continue to use it even if it meant going to the next dining room. For our vegan friends there was a choice of pasta, pasta or pasta. The entertainment was good. We went to several of the shows an were pleased. The excursions at our various ports were good. What I found interesting was the on ship channel dedicated to excursions was great and a whole lot more informational/easier to understand than the web site. It would be great to have the video linked to the web site. The very best excursion was the crab feast. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The good: drinks, bar service, cabin service, food service (but not universally food quality) embarkation, disembarkation. Five for free. The mediocre: food everywhere except Cagney's and La Cucina (and the one lunch we had in the ... Read More
The good: drinks, bar service, cabin service, food service (but not universally food quality) embarkation, disembarkation. Five for free. The mediocre: food everywhere except Cagney's and La Cucina (and the one lunch we had in the main dining room). Especially the oily yellow lab that passes for low-rent velveeta, which is as close to cheese as you get in an omelette or on a burger. Also, the Irish bar has nachos comprised of stale yellow chips, smothered in oil cheese and bacon bits? Why don't you step that game up to potato skins or chips and some real cheese? Also, $35 a glass for Veuve Cliquot? Puh-leez. You can keep it at that price. Balcony cabin seemed a little small, but that's because it's almost 1/2 bed. They could stand to widen them by about 2 feet for ease of passage. The bad: excursion markup is pretty extreme. The ship seemed even more maze-like than my previous cruises, with 6th and 7th deck dead ends at the main dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our 6th Alaska cruise, 3rd on NCL. We flew to Anchorage on Saturday for the Monday cruise. You do need to plan $100+ to get yourself to the port. We did a taxi from Seward with another couple to save $. The train/bus options are ... Read More
This was our 6th Alaska cruise, 3rd on NCL. We flew to Anchorage on Saturday for the Monday cruise. You do need to plan $100+ to get yourself to the port. We did a taxi from Seward with another couple to save $. The train/bus options are either morning or early afternoon. We booked guaranteed less than a month before the cruise. Got a good price and all 5 options. Room assignment given within a week. The pros: We enjoyed this midsize ship better than last year’s Bliss. Less crowds and easier to navigate. The Jewel’s dry dock was well done. Balcony room was smaller than others, but well-planned storage makes it tolerable. Staff was efficient and courteous. Dining rooms and buffet were very good. Easy to get on and off the ship. We took advantage of the future cruise certificates, after reading the contract we could see no downside to committing to future NCL cruises. The cons: the weather was grey and damp, not NCL’s fault. We still enjoyed the views and ports, just didn’t get great pictures. Also due to weather, we missed Tracey Arm and stayed in Juneau until 9 pm. La Cucina was our least favorite dining room. Meat we ordered was dried out and flavorless, veal and chicken cacciatore. We will skip this option next cruise. Overall, we find the NCL ships to be more elegant and the clientele more to our taste. Although we are Carnival platinum, we think we’ve outgrown the fun ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Beautiful ship, well appointed. All bars had awesome staff, especially Magnums and O’Shanahons . Specialty restaurants that we picked had wonderful food. We didn’t buy and shore excursions, (too $$$$) but, did do the port shopping ... Read More
Beautiful ship, well appointed. All bars had awesome staff, especially Magnums and O’Shanahons . Specialty restaurants that we picked had wonderful food. We didn’t buy and shore excursions, (too $$$$) but, did do the port shopping experience. Disappointed in daytime entertainment options when we returned to ship. Appreciated the hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship. Best entertainment by far was Fire and Ice (Michael Jackson/ Tina Turner) done by Rosie. . The entire staff on the Jewel had the best attitudes, always with a smile and asking if we needed help. Dan the Man was fun and helpful with announcements. Loved the drink package and the Specialty Dining. We are already planning on returning soon. Maybe the 16 days thru the Panama Cancel, Florida to LA where we live. We took advantage of the CruiseNow package. I personally have cruised on Cardinal Cruise Line.......I will never go back. I’m in love with NCL! Thank you for a very enjoyable cruise Gail Ropp Traveling with Lance Lomax Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wanted the itinerary so I chose this cruise and I have been cruising primarily on NCL. On the Jewel the staff makes you feel like family. The entertainment this cruise ( end of Sept) to Alaska was excellent. Stateroom was great and ... Read More
Wanted the itinerary so I chose this cruise and I have been cruising primarily on NCL. On the Jewel the staff makes you feel like family. The entertainment this cruise ( end of Sept) to Alaska was excellent. Stateroom was great and the Jewel was recently renovated. Recognized the Hotel Director Steven as I have cruised on the Jewel a few times previously. The food was good, some menu items better than others. Some of the food a bit bland, but good! The most remarkable thing that occurred was that my hotel steward found and turned into me an large diamond stud earring that had come out off my earlobe. I had not noticed that it had come off until he said he found it on the floor of my stateroom. Very commendable. So honest. I was very impressed by that. On my wish list, less shopping talks and more history, geography and cultural information! You cannot go wrong choosing NCL Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The cruise was the second part of my Alaska adventure . Something I have always wanted to experience. The ports and excursions were amazing , the scenery breathtaking and we saw bears ! We had a mini suite with a balcony and that was a ... Read More
The cruise was the second part of my Alaska adventure . Something I have always wanted to experience. The ports and excursions were amazing , the scenery breathtaking and we saw bears ! We had a mini suite with a balcony and that was a real treat to be able sit out there and see whales ,seals and the beautiful mountain ranges. Our room steward Shakia (spelled wrong) was charming and very efficient meeting our every need with a smile. We ate at three specialty restaurants ,Cagneys ,La Cicina and Monodeva which were all excellent .However the complimentary restaurants for all meals were very good . My scale showed there were no complaints. The service throughout the ship was wonderful , except for one area . A very important one I might add , guest services , mid deck where you got any questions answered you might have. I had to go there three times and three different agents were rude , acted as if I was bothering them or asking stupid questions , never a smile . Several people in the group we traveled with had the same impression . I still have a $52.80 charge at Azura for chocolates that no one could tell me what it was for at the service desk . I would not go back and ask a second time . That area of the service was very disappointing. My only other issue was my children gave me an on board credit and I used it for a sea weed massage 100 minutes , the last 15 minutes were spent trying to sell me weight loss products and othe products I had no interest in . I specified I was there for a relaxation massage not a health check up but the young women did a great massage. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cheaper then Disneys, but we should have paid the extra money. Customer service was lacking, acted like you bothered them to ask question. Didn't get final bill until morning of disembarking, ran put of time to address issues, ... Read More
Cheaper then Disneys, but we should have paid the extra money. Customer service was lacking, acted like you bothered them to ask question. Didn't get final bill until morning of disembarking, ran put of time to address issues, was supposed to get the bill 430 day b4. Entertainment was like High School musical...had one night in Bliss lounge with old school music n place was packed, band took a break n came back n played differentudic n EVERYONE left, not hard to figure out your audience. They painted our balcony so we had very strong paint funes n couldn't set outside, stupid to do that. Couldn't get waited in in lounges, wait staff walked right by you n wouldn't even make eye contact...what the heck? IT guy was beyond rude, never received our free bottle of wine for being a repeat Norwegian cruiser... way below standard from first cruise in Hawaii Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska cruise was great. The ship was extremely clean, the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, The entertainment was good in quality of shows and variety. The cruise from start to finish was well organized. NCL made it easy to get ... Read More
Alaska cruise was great. The ship was extremely clean, the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, The entertainment was good in quality of shows and variety. The cruise from start to finish was well organized. NCL made it easy to get on and off the ship. The two big disappointments on the ship were 1. The food served on board the Jewel was a huge disappointment. NCL does a lot of things right but because the preparation and food was so bad we will never cruise with NCL again. If anyone from NCL is reading this don't take our word for it pull up a chair and dine in one of your restaurants. . I recommend starting in O'shea's. The 2nd disappointment was the smoke filled casino. I understand there are plenty of people that like to smoke while they gamble and I understand that. There are also some of us that don't enjoy cigarette smoke. How hard would it be to reserve a small section for non smokers. Other cruise lines do a much better job in accommodating smokers and non smokers in the casino area of the ship. Our overall experience was great. We would not select NCL again on any of our future cruises for the reasons identified above. Kind regards, Kevin. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our previous cruise was on NCL and in booking a trip to Alaska, we choose it again and were not disappointed. The NCL Jewel was updated last fall and feels like a new ship. Our mini-suite was perfect with a little extra room and full bath. ... Read More
Our previous cruise was on NCL and in booking a trip to Alaska, we choose it again and were not disappointed. The NCL Jewel was updated last fall and feels like a new ship. Our mini-suite was perfect with a little extra room and full bath. We were traveling with our adult children, so it was nice to have the extra space when they visited us or used our balcony for glacier viewing. The staff are exceptionally friendly and are committed to providing a high level of service. While we don't have another cruise line to which we can compare our experiences, we are usually very active on vacations and were hesitant to even consider a cruise. We enjoy the "freestyle" options on Norwegian. Dining hours are flexible, you can find plenty of healthy options and the upgraded dining options are excellent and worth the cost. The thermal spa is an add-on, but is something you might consider--a peaceful getaway and great place to read while enjoying the gorgeous scenery from the front of the ship. And there are plenty of night life options for all ages. The promenade on Deck 7 is great for walking while enjoying 360 views. We saw a number of whales while walking the morning we entered the inside passage. We chose the one way trip from Seward to Vancouver. We arrived early in Anchorage and spend four days in Denali with a rental car. We then took a bus from the Anchorage airport to Seward to board the ship. The Bike, Hike and Float excursion in Skayway was our favorite and a great value. In Juneau, we were disappointed in the kayaking near Mendenhall Glacier (only an hour on the water and seemed to go in circles), but also had time for a hike to the top of Mount Roberts (and then took the tram down). In Icy Strait we walked to the nearby town of Hookah. Overall, a great trip and would choose NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Ship: The NCL Jewel did not disappoint. From start to finish this boat looked great. Never once did I see any aging on this ship at all. It was recently refurbished within the last year and is obviously maintained very well. Cabin: Our ... Read More
Ship: The NCL Jewel did not disappoint. From start to finish this boat looked great. Never once did I see any aging on this ship at all. It was recently refurbished within the last year and is obviously maintained very well. Cabin: Our cabin number was 8088. Overall it was a good cabin but did get a little noisy at night. This was not because of any bars/ restaurants on the ship. It seemed to be some maintenance being done on the life boats or plumbing late at night. We were never really able to pinpoint exactly what it was. This lasted for the first half of the cruise and the room was perfectly quiet the rest of the cruise. Dining: Our experience on all the the Norwegian cruises we have been the same. The food was excellent. From the buffet to the specialty dining there was not one item of food that wasn't good. We ate at the main dining room, buffet, Cagney, Moderno and the on board hibachi grill. I highly recommend them all. Especially the premium dining options. Entertainment: The entertainment on board was also fantastic. This was our fourth Norwegian cruise and this was one of the reasons we switched from Carnival cruise lines (nine cruises). Carnival entertainment started to get very bad. Norwegian dominates in this category. This cruise included multiple shows including a cirque style show, aerobatics, comedian, and many more. Every single one was great. Service: From the moment we got on board service was above and beyond. As with all the other Norwegian cruises we have been on the service by everyone on the ship was excellent. Ports: First, I highly recommend this itinerary. Alaska is a beautiful place and these ports are all fantastic. This is our second time in three years and I want to go again. Seward: We took the train from Anchorage to Seward the day before the cruise. This train was great and I recommend this method of travel to the port instead of a bus. Once we arrived in Seward we took the 6 hour Kenai fjords cruise offered by Major Marine Tours. The weather was not very good this day but it was still an enjoyable experience. Hubbard Glacier: We arrived in the early afternoon. Get outside on the decks to get the best views. The Captain maneuvers the ship around multiple times so everyone can get a look. This is the most magnificent glacier I have ever seen and one of the largest in the world! Icy Straight Point: This is a small port with some shopping within walking distance. If you need assistance there is also a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes around the area. We did the two and half hour whale watching cruise and it exceeded all expectations. We saw Orcas, Humpback whales, Sea Lions and much more. Juneau: While in port we did the whale watching and Mendenhall Glacier. I also recommend both. We saw sea lions and humpback whales. It was a slow whale watching day but still saw multiple whales. Mendenhall Glacier has a very nice visitor center and multiple overlooks to get good pictures of the glacier. Skagway: Very nice town within walking distance. We previously did the White Pass railway. I recommend this if you have never do it before. This time we took a bus up into Yukon and got to further than the train goes. This was a nice shore excursion and it was good to see some new and beautiful scenery. Ketchikan: We did the Misty fjords by boat. This excursion is a long one but does not disappoint. Once in the fjords it is scenery that I would compare to the Fjords in Norway. If you have never been it is a must. Unfortunately it is a multiple hour boat ride both ways. If you do not like small boats this may not be for you. If your debating on whether or not to do this cruise, book it. This is an excellent vacation and Norwegian cruise lines is the way to go. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose a balcony stateroom and so glad that we did. We could watch the scenery and Hubbard glacier right from our room. We also watched for wildlife and took pictures from our balcony. The service, food, cleanliness and accommodations ... Read More
We chose a balcony stateroom and so glad that we did. We could watch the scenery and Hubbard glacier right from our room. We also watched for wildlife and took pictures from our balcony. The service, food, cleanliness and accommodations were all fantastic. We were able to stretch our legs with walking about the ship whenever we would like. There was food available at 6am for early risers and snacks in the afternoon when sitting on the Aft Deck watching the scenery. The two shows we went to were 1st class. Broadway quality shows with outstanding music and dance. We also felt that the communication was excellent, letting us know what is going on, when to be on and off the ship and even reminding us of a time change. The restaurant selections were broad and we were able to eat different varieties of food each day. Very fine dining and service at the restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit our time line. We were going from Alaska to Oregon. We spent 10 days exploring Alaska before we boarded the ship in Seward. We are in our 70s and felt like we were on a seven day date. We loved the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit our time line. We were going from Alaska to Oregon. We spent 10 days exploring Alaska before we boarded the ship in Seward. We are in our 70s and felt like we were on a seven day date. We loved the shows and music. We danced every night. The ports and excursions were amazing. We wish everyone we met on the cruise had spent more time in Seward, the Alaska Sealife Center shouldn't be missed. Our cabin was beautiful and spotless. Everything from arrival to departure went smoothly. We were especially impressed with how smoothly getting on and off the ship in ports went. The ship had something for everyone. We did not participate in any of the daytime activities on the ship. We just explored and watched the beautiful scenery when we were at sea. We just ignored the sales pitches..art, jewelry, etc. We hope to do this again and highly recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We cruised with NCL on the Jewel, 9/2-9/9. We took the train to Seward. We took the early train, so we could have time to walk around Seward. Their is not much to see in Seward and it was raining so we went back to the ship. First stop was ... Read More
We cruised with NCL on the Jewel, 9/2-9/9. We took the train to Seward. We took the early train, so we could have time to walk around Seward. Their is not much to see in Seward and it was raining so we went back to the ship. First stop was Hubbard Glacier, it was breathtaking. We got to see and hear ice calving. It was truly hard to take in everything we saw at this glacier. Second stop was Hoonah, and we did a whale watching tour IS WAS AWESOME. We booked the excursion with Hoonah Tours. Hoonah is a very small town to walk around but the favor of the town is very unique. Next port was Juneau, we took a cab ($35) to the Mendenhall glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. Just beautiful. We had plenty of time to walk around Juneau. Very cute town. We were supposed to leave Juneau at 1pm but we were not able to visit the Sawyer Glacier due to too much ice in the water. We had heard their was an earthquake at the Glacier the Friday before we got there, so we stayed in Juneau till 9pm. Next port was Skagway, we rented a Jeep and drove to Emerald Lake, Carcross, a suspension bridge and stopped to see a desert, yes a desert! Next port was Ketchikan, we rented a Zodiac boat and were lucky enough to find a whale bubble feeding and it breached the water. We had great weather during our cruise. We spent time in the hot tubes and even went in the pool, which was heated. The staff was awesome on the Jewel. We meet so many nice people on the ship. Our two favorite bartenders were at O'Sheehans, Ky and Rummel. My only criticism was the entertainment on board. The cruise director and is staff are BELOW PAR. The only show worth going to is Vlad and Anna (gymnast) they were awesome. I loved my cruise to Alaska. I would go again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were first-timers on an Alaskan cruise that also included a land portion. We found the Norwegian Jewel very comfortable. While the on-board activities tended towards game shows and silly contests and while we did not particularly use ... Read More
We were first-timers on an Alaskan cruise that also included a land portion. We found the Norwegian Jewel very comfortable. While the on-board activities tended towards game shows and silly contests and while we did not particularly use the spa or the casino or even the fitness, there was still a lot to enjoy. We ate at the upscale La Cucina (Italian), Cagney's (the steak house), and Le Bistro (French) and stayed away from the buffet. The other sit-down (complementary) restaurants were perfectly acceptable although not great like the 3 I mentioned. We did 1-2 excursions in each port and enjoyed each thoroughly. We also enjoyed the music atmosphere at night, including the shows and the performers in the bars and other public areas. We stayed in a stateroom with a window; the space was very small but had good storage. The NCL staff makes you feel valued and included. We would go again and would recommend that others do our same cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska is beautiful and I recommend any one to see it. We did a land and sea (12 day) with NCL. The sights were great but we were very disappointed with the regular tardiness on due to staff of NCL. We departed late from one stop to ... Read More
Alaska is beautiful and I recommend any one to see it. We did a land and sea (12 day) with NCL. The sights were great but we were very disappointed with the regular tardiness on due to staff of NCL. We departed late from one stop to another, then excursions ran late due to poor communication, and wait staff didn’t seem to care to serve you rather than feed you and move on to the next. Overall the entertainment was tasteless compared to other cruises and the staff was not very outgoing. Even a staff member said Disney and Royal Caribbean are better than Norwegian - that’s pathetic. The excursions were wonderful and the businesses involved had wonderful staff, but you can do the same excursions with another cruise line. Also, the land portion did not provide any meals, you were on your own or had to sign up for a bag lunch if available which you paid for on top of the fees you already paid. So we ended up paying for transportation to get to a place to have food. In more secluded area the food industry is less present and you get stuck eating over priced food truck meals that put you in a bathroom all night. We did get lucky in some aspects as well, we drove through a wildfire which then closed the road we had to take after we passed. We disembarked a train miles before it met an area where the tracks were washed out due to a land slide. Overall we were disappointed by the staff, entertainment, and food (the cruise can cook a decent steak and that’s about it). I’d recommend Alaska 100% but choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Alaska is always a great destination, even when it was cold and rainy. But my concern is that the food on NCL seems to have gone downhill rapidly since our last cruise on the Jade last September. It was bland. Buffet looked like they ... Read More
Alaska is always a great destination, even when it was cold and rainy. But my concern is that the food on NCL seems to have gone downhill rapidly since our last cruise on the Jade last September. It was bland. Buffet looked like they had thrown together and mashed the food together from the night before on several occasions. Even the meals in the dining room sub par. My daughter had to remind the waiter on 3 occasions about missed things and one night a waiter got the orders wrong 4 different times. He just wasn't listening. Nodding his head and off he went. That happened more often then usual from our past cruises. We were Mid ship 5067 and 5069. Inside. But don't ever book anything in that area because the bars are above you and all you get until 2 in the morning is banging, sliding of equipment and noises I never knew existed. Sleep was challenging to say the least. If you have any mobility problems don't do the Thermal Spa. Trying to get in and out of the hot tubs was difficult. I wasted $186 and could only go there once. I was terrified I'd fall trying to get in and out. I was not the only one who felt that way. Others had the same concerns. Unfortunately when they refurbished by the Jewel and the Jade they left the seats in the Stardust theatre with no upgrades. When you sit down it is almost like falling onto the floor and the seats are slanted downward so it is uncomfortable. Unless there is a destination only NCL does at a decent price, I am not sure I would cruise with them again. The specialty restaurants were okay but found the ones on the Jade better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Start with Embarkation - the Easiest ever and the most friendly! The ship was just remodeled 4th qrt 2018 and is quite beautiful. We dined in Modernaro the brazilian steakhouse, 2 nights in Cagney's the regular steakhouse, Asian ... Read More
Start with Embarkation - the Easiest ever and the most friendly! The ship was just remodeled 4th qrt 2018 and is quite beautiful. We dined in Modernaro the brazilian steakhouse, 2 nights in Cagney's the regular steakhouse, Asian restaurant Chin Chin, Tepanika Tsar's Palace Dining room and the buffet. Mica was our favorite waitress and Mary Lo the BEST Hostess! We enjoyed them all, in particular Cagney's and Tepanika. Tsar's Palace is quite beautiful and the service was simply wonderful . . . as a matter of fact the service everywhere on the ship was the incredible, the friendliest staff with anticipating your needs (and I have been on over 30 cruises). Really loved the shows, the acrobatic show and Carl Strong comedy being the favorites. Went to the spa for 4 different treatments, Sam gave the best pedicure and manicure I have every had! John D'Souza was an incredible concierge and during disembarkation when things started to get back up and not going as smoothly, John was right in the middle of it, fixing things for a better easier flow! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cruise without the frills, the Norwegian Jewel is the way to go. After cruising Alaska with Holland America in years past, it's much easier to see how NCL just throws in the towel on ... Read More
If you're looking for a budget-friendly cruise without the frills, the Norwegian Jewel is the way to go. After cruising Alaska with Holland America in years past, it's much easier to see how NCL just throws in the towel on effort past selling shore excursions. The ship was basic - everything you'd need no matter where you're sailing to. The cabin was efficient. The dining rooms were average - although the specialty dining rooms were very much worth the extra money! Service was what was expected - except for in O'Sheehans... some of the rudest staff members on the high seas. The Alaskan ports are absolutely breath-taking and a must see for every one! We'd do this cruise again only because the price is right and the ports speak for themselves. If you're looking for a more authentic Alaskan experience, I'd recommend Holland America, but the NCL Jewel is a great budget friendly way to see it! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My family and I chose this cruise because we wanted to cruise southbound from Seward to Vancouver. We liked the ports that were included and the available dates. Embarkation went very smoothly which was great because we were all very ... Read More
My family and I chose this cruise because we wanted to cruise southbound from Seward to Vancouver. We liked the ports that were included and the available dates. Embarkation went very smoothly which was great because we were all very tired (fires north of Anchorage caused us to drive thru the night). We were in a mini-suite with a balcony on deck 11. We were under the Spa and the cabin was very quiet and close to everything at the front of the ship. With 4 of us in the cabin it was very cozy, the balcony helped us feel like there was additional room. The bathroom was spacious. I didn't care for the bathtub/shower combination. It was a very high step to get into the shower. I think older/handicapped cruisers would have a hard time with this setup. Overall the food was good. Didn't seem to be much variation from night to night in the main dining areas or O'Sheehans. Since we were cruising Alaska it would have been nice to have some fresh seafood options. I understand that the menu isn't tailored to the itinerary, Dan the cruise director was very nice. The staff was very good at remembering our names and was very friendly, We stayed busy while we were on the ship between bingo, trivia and other games that we played. The entertainment was okay, we are not really into dancing and musical productions. We did not care for Mr. Carl Strong's comic routine. We booked excursions thru NCL and were happy with them. Everything was run smoothly and efficiently, Disembarkation went smoothly as we carried our own bags and left after we had breakfast. While we enjoyed our time aboard the Jewel, we do not plan to repeat this itinerary. Alaska was beautiful, but our next vacation will be to someplace we haven't been. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Did a lot of research before choosing this cruise for me and my teenage daughter. We knew we wanted to spend a few days in the Anchorage area before cruising. This cruise started in Seward and ended in Vancouver. It was the perfect size ... Read More
Did a lot of research before choosing this cruise for me and my teenage daughter. We knew we wanted to spend a few days in the Anchorage area before cruising. This cruise started in Seward and ended in Vancouver. It was the perfect size ship with the best itinerary, entertainment and price. We are not big foodies so mostly ate at the buffet which always had great variety and different themes every night. The entertainment was excellent and changed nightly. The comedian was hilarious, the production cast soooo talented. Anna and Vlad were amazing. The singers (Hanna was awesome) and dancers were fantastic. We loved the port heavy itinerary, got to see so much of Alaska with this cruise. Glacier viewing from Spinnaker Lounge was very comfortable but also the outside viewing options were perfect. Whale watching in Icy Strait was so cool. Loved seeing orcas from the ship in the Inside Passage thanks to the captains announcement! Service on the ship was A+. Our cabin steward was awesome. Loved the extra touches like being greeted with hot chocolate or cucumber soup when coming back from excursions. All around a wonderful trip! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year by cruising Alaska. Only been on Carnival before, can't say I was over-impressed with Norwegian but had absolutely no complaints. Totally personal preference but I'm not ... Read More
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year by cruising Alaska. Only been on Carnival before, can't say I was over-impressed with Norwegian but had absolutely no complaints. Totally personal preference but I'm not sure I liked the freestyle dining, thought way too much emphasis was placed on the specialty restaurants. Also did not get the feeling that we were "special/remembered" like when the staff remembers your names or your drink orders. Again, still received quality service with no complaints. Room was always taken care of, never had to wait in line really at a restaurant. The ship was pretty full and only had slight issues with finding a table near the buffet. One thing I thought Norwegian did very well was embarkation and disembarkation. Practically walked right on at the beginning. No problems with getting or finding luggage on either end of the trip. Staff were all pleasant and helpful. Regarding the specialty restaurants we thought Cagney's Steakhouse was great. Teppanyaki was fun and good food. Didn't go to any others due to availability/reservation scheduling but was pleased with the main dining room - good food, good service. The entertainment was good. Loved the comedian (former Pip with Gladys Knight!). We're not much for bingo but enjoyed the Deal or No Deal games. Regarding excursions: Spent a couple of days in Anchorage prior to the cruise. Was impressed with the city - lots of shopping and eating all in walking distance. Was not that impressed with the Alaska Zoo. Although it was a free shuttle ride out there, the zoo was just not laid out very well, we seemed to walk in circles and double back on ourselves often. If it were just me I would blame it on my being "directionally challenged" but husband never has trouble with that stuff and still had a hard time figuring it out. Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward was excellent. Seemed like we stood in line quite a while to get on but didn't have any trouble finding seat/car/etc. Did not get the Gold Star service and did not feel that I missed out on anything. Still had marvelous views with lots of picture taking time. We did visit the lounge with the overhead windows and it did offer a better view - but my husband suffers from vertigo and the motion and view were a bit much. We did have breakfast in the dining car - food was good and reasonably priced, service was ok. In Icy Strait Point/Hoonah we did not have anything planned ahead of time but booked a whale watching boat tour. Saw a couple of groups of 4-5 humpback whales circling. There was actually a whale circling in the bay there by the boardwalk which was really cool. Did some shopping and nature walks. In Juneau we had booked the helicopter/dog sled excursion. However, a couple of weeks ago we were notified that the dog sledding camps on the glaciers were closing early due to the warm weather this summer. We still did the helicopter tour with Coastal Helicopters - excellent! Our pilot Jessie was amazing and from our home state! In Ketchikan we did the Crab Fishermen's boat tour. This was great. I got the impression that these were just a bunch of old fishermen that retired and now just spend their days showing off the work they love to do. Laid back, made sure everyone had chances to observe and hold the sea life. Fed the bald eagles off the side of the ship so we got some great views and pictures. No one at the end with a hand out for a tip - again, just as if your ole Uncle Joe took you out on the boat for the afternoon (with a hundred or so others). Glacier watching on board we did mostly on Deck 8 that was the crew area they opened up for the glaciers. We spent our money on excursions instead of a balcony and did not regret it, although we did enjoy watching a bit from our ocean view window. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We celebrated my 40th birthday on the cruise ship as well has a 30th wedding anniversary of a family member. The ship was extremely small and had limited shopping and things for kids to do. The outdoor activities, ping pong, golf, ... Read More
We celebrated my 40th birthday on the cruise ship as well has a 30th wedding anniversary of a family member. The ship was extremely small and had limited shopping and things for kids to do. The outdoor activities, ping pong, golf, basketball were shut down by 8pm. The arcade was basically the size of a closet. My kids are 10 and 12 and could not go to the teen club and the other kid activities were oriented for kids in diapers or toddlers. I would definitely not go on this ship again with my children. Too boring for them. The store on the ship was horrible. Poor options for clothing and prices were extremely high. The excursions we went on were definitely not worth the money we paid for them. One of the excursions was to a free park. We paid $114 each for 2 adults and $79 each for 2 children for a 20 minute bus ride to a FREE park. The amount of time spent at each port was too short to really enjoy the locations. The best thing about the ship was our cleaning staff member. He made sure our room was sparkling clean every day. He always addressed us by name. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had an interior room; however, I recommend a balcony room as Alaska offers beautiful scenery especially when going thru fjords. Overall, the ship was great. It has been recently remodeled and they did a great job. The food was amazing. ... Read More
We had an interior room; however, I recommend a balcony room as Alaska offers beautiful scenery especially when going thru fjords. Overall, the ship was great. It has been recently remodeled and they did a great job. The food was amazing. We ate in the Tsar, Azura, and Chin Chin. Being vegetarian, they were very accommodating and we could pre-order our meals the day before. Regardless of which restaurant we ate at, Tsar's or Azura, they would have our order. Chin Chin didn't have very many vegetarian options. Being with meat eaters in our group, we wanted to dine together. The others weren't too thrilled with the food there either. The sushi was good, but that's extra charge. The shows were great - Larry Omaha (comedian), Anna and Vlad (acrobats), and the main show on the last night were amazing. Must see!! We missed the Quest but Perfect Couple game was hilarious!! Don't miss it!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Before boarding, we spent several days in Alaska on our own. The day we boarded, we traveled from Anchorage to Seward via the Coastal Classic route on the Alaska Railroad. Although we booked independently from NCL, they still checked our ... Read More
Before boarding, we spent several days in Alaska on our own. The day we boarded, we traveled from Anchorage to Seward via the Coastal Classic route on the Alaska Railroad. Although we booked independently from NCL, they still checked our bags straight through from Anchorage, and they were waiting for us in our cabin when we boarded! The Coastal Classic train 100% surpassed expectations, it was absolutely breathtaking! Once in Seward, we boarded an independently booked excursion through Major Marine Tours, the 6 hour Kenai Fjords tour. Again, absolutely exceeded our expectations, it was fantastic! So many marine creatures that we saw: otters, sea lions, seals, whales, eagles, puffins... And Aialik Glacier was awe-inspiring. The blue ice was so vivid, and in the smaller boat we were able to get much closer than the cruise ship could get, so we could easily hear the sonic boom when it calved! Embarkation went very smoothly, we were through the line and on the ship in probably 10-15 minutes. We missed the main muster drill because we were still on our excursion, so we attended the make-up drill just before sailaway. The dining was typical, no complaints, but the only really memorable meals were at the specialty restaurants (we ate at Cagneys, La Cucina, and Moderno this cruise). We had the social media internet package, and it worked well for Facebook, texts, Instagram, Twitter, etc, but I was surprised that it wouldn't let me update my Wordpress blog. No complaints on speed, it worked reasonably well. The entertainment was generally excellent, especially the shows. Velvet was interesting, although I wouldn't have paid an upcharge for it like I think is happening on other ships. Vlad and Anna, the acrobats, were absolutely fantastic, both in their own show and in the Cirque Bijou show the last night. We found the comedian on this cruise, Larry Omaha, highly entertaining as well. My only criticism for the cruise director's staff would be the scheduling of activities - inexplicably, while we were in port, there were a bunch of activities scheduled (including our personal favorite, trivia), but on the sea days, there seemed to actually be fewer activities scheduled, which seems odd. Not the end of the world as I'm perfectly capable of entertaining myself on sea days, even in Alaska, but it was a bit weird. Service was fantastic, absolutely no complaints. Every crew member we encountered was friendly and helpful. The ports were a bit more hit or miss in my opinion. Seward was great, as previously stated. The next port was Icy Strait Point, which was not a favorite. With the Joy in port at the same time, it was very crowded, and everything seemed even more overpriced than the rest of Alaska. We attended the In Alaska's Wildest Kitchen excursion through NCL, and it was interesting, but not nearly worth what it cost in my opinion. We then walked the Memorial Trail into Hoonah, where we had been told we could catch the shuttle back one-way. First of all, there's basically nothing of interest in Hoonah, or if there was, it certainly wasn't obvious. Secondly, the shuttle system was a big cluster. TWICE, we had a shuttle appear only to be informed moments later that she couldn't take us after all, as she had to pick up customers at the airport. We waited a good 20+ minutes for a shuttle, in a long line, and then two more showed up immediately after. We heard of others waiting 45 minutes or more. In addition, the shuttle pickup was not marked. At all. We just saw a bunch of people heading that way (I assume from where they'd been dropped off), and followed. Next stop was Juneau, where we rented a car at the nearby Avis rental and drove to Mendenhall Glacier. You can't get very close to the glacier without an excursion directly to it, we found, but we were able to see it, and to hike the area, including Nugget Falls, and the salmon ladder, where black bears were evident. The Visitor Center was interesting, but couldn't occupy one for more than 30 minutes. We drove back to Juneau and stopped at the Juneau city museum, which was interesting - probably a 30-45 minute stop. We then headed back for a 1pm all-aboard so we could go to Dawes Glacier on the ship that afternoon. Both Hubbard and Dawes were nice, but not comparable to the experience we had getting close up to Aialik. Next port was Skagway, where we booked the White Pass and Yukon train through Chilkoot Charters. Very professional and well done, the train ride is very scenic as well as interesting to hear the narration of the history of the area. We then boarded a bus that headed further into the Yukon territory, including lunch near Carcross and several photo stops. Our driver, Jennie, was great, very informative as well as entertaining. I had managed to injure my leg that morning running back to the ship to get our passports, so we weren't able to do any real exploring in Skagway, unfortunately. In Ketchikan, we had booked a Black Bear tour through Kiwanti Adventures, and definitely saw the bears. Of course, so did a lot of people who paid a lot less for a rainforest tour, as well as some that may have just happened to be in the parking lot at the right time. That said, we were much closer to the bear and probably got much better photos. If seeing a black bear is important, it's a good tour to book! We disembarked in Vancouver, and did the Vancouver City Highlights tour through LandSea Adventures. In retrospect, we should have booked their Vancouver Delights tour instead, as it has very high ratings, but it's a longer tour and would have started to make me nervous about getting to the airport in time. In any case, the City Highlights tour was good, we got to see a lot of the City, including Granville Island, Stanley Park, and the English Bay area. Our driver, Ira, was very informative and entertaining as well. Overall, we will definitely be back, although may try to mix things up with some different ports if possible! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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